The “casual vs hardcore” debate has been raging since life on Azeroth began, and is unlikely
to ever be settled. Recently, however, I have read a number of blog posts and comments
from people claiming to be “casual” WOW players even though they raid a number of times a
week with their guild. I have also heard the term “casual raider” a lot more recently.
How is “casual raider” meant, in this context? Like anything else I the casual/hardcore debate,
it varies, although generally it is shorthand for “I raid a number of times a week with my guild,
but I am still a casual player. Definitely NOT hardcore…”
For some reason, a great many raiders still want to be seen as casual WOW players. I am
unsure why this is – maybe they do not want the social stigma attached to a “WOW addict”
or maybe they are in denial about how invested they are in the game. The only way in which
regular raiders are casual is in comparison to the very top guilds in each realm – but this is
not what most users of “casual raider” are referring to. My opinion on this if you are a raider
in a guild that raids regularly, you are not a casual player. Additionally, I would say that the
term “casual raider” has almost no meaning.
Let me present some (albeit very rough) figures. According to wowprogress, 34,081 guilds
have downed at least one Cataclysm raid boss (Baradin Hold not included). If we assume an
average of 20 raiders per guild (I said they were rough figures) then that would mean 681,620
raiders in Cataclysm. The latest figures from Blizzard say that 4.7m copies of Cataclysm
have been sold so far. That would mean that raiders account for only 14.5% of the Cataclysm
My question is this: If you are in the top 14.5% of players in the world in PvE content, then
can you really be classed as casual at all? Relatively speaking, you are a hardcore player.
Sure, you might only raid 3 nights a week, perhaps for 3 hours at a time. But I bet that a
huge number of WOW subscribers would look at that in disbelief – and that isn’t including
any heroics, farming or crafting. If you PUG a boss fight a week, then I might let you off for
using “casual raider” but at this point in the expansion these players are a tiny minority.
And to me it isn’t just an issue of time. It’s also a mentality towards the game. If you read up
regularly on the accepted best spec/rotation for your class, then in the grand scheme of the
game you are not casual player. If you are online reading and commenting on WOW blogs,
then I certainly would not consider your investment in the game “casual”. I “only” raid for 6
hours a week, but I would in no way consider myself casually invested in WOW. Hence why I
am here now, talking about it.
The term “casual” and “hardcore” must be relative to the population of the game. Just
because you don’t interact with the players who log on for an hour a week to play with their
pets, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And just because you are “casual” compared to the
Ensidia guys, it does not make you “casual” in the bigger picture of WOW players.